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Entries tagged with "bbc"

When I first read about the redesign challenge the BBC was offering I thought, "Ha! Good luck suckers." Trying to organize such a massive amount of content just took too much time for me.

A little time went by...

And a little more...

And I started reconsidering. "How would I do this? ...Naw... It's just too time consuming." A little less time...

"Well, it would be fun to try and solve." Even less time...

"Well, Photoshop's open. I'll just take a screenshot and think about it."

Five minutes later I was trying my hand at the problem.

Approaching the Task

As always, I thought about the current "competitors" this page has for eyeballs across the internet. There's My Yahoo!, personalized Google, netvibes and Protopage. I'm very familiar with each of these site and use them regularly - mainly as RSS readers and content "bulletin boards." It was only natural I take this idea and apply it to the BBC homepage.

I sat down and thought about the current appearance of the BBC homepage. It's compartmentalized. There's the "Explore" box, the "Showcase" box, the "News" box, the "Weather" box and so on. There's something to be said about keeping related content within the bounds of each other. It's a simple solution to fit as much information on a page as possible. I decided then and there that using boxes was the way to go about designing.

Implementing the Design

The first decision was to implement a fluid, flexible, full screen, three column design. Instead of forcing the design to a set width, I felt that by using the full browser size, the overwhelming amount of content a person could have would beminimalized and spread across the full browser window.

The header in the current site is extremely important. It shows the user which area of the site they have landed on and some of their other choices to navigate through the site. It is active across the entire BBC site and provides the "compass." I cleaned the look of the header up by anchoring the search box to the right hand corner of the browser and cleaning up some of the choices. By breaking the BBC site into these major categories, the user will have total access to all the content the BBC has to offer.

Tabs were included to give the user control of homepage sections. Using tabs, content can be divided, categorized and renamed in anyway the user sees fit. They could have a "Movie" page that contains only information about upcoming movies that interest them. Maybe they'll want a "Sports" section, or "Business," etc. The possibilities are endless. With the tabs found globally across the homepage, they act as a table of contents, allowing quick access to each section.

The main content area is defined by different "modulals" that can be created from either user-input RSS feeds or from a predetermined design by the BBC. The Calendar section is an example of this. This can be used to schedule, remind or help the user stay organized. By a simple colored box (also customizable), the user can see what they have on tap for the day, week or month. Each box will then relate to a specific "calendar" using a simple color-coded relationship found in the legend.

"Top news stories" will be changed as well with a comment area for each stories. No longer will the BBC news be a one way tunnel. User interaction will be put to the forefront of the new BBC.

The footer has been long overlooked as a place to throw extraneous information about copyrights and disclaimers. By utilizing this space as site map, it gives the user more options as to where to jump to next within the BBC website when they are finished.

Keeping it Uniquely BBC

With all the personalization happening on the BBC 2.0 version, how does it stay true to the BBC brand and entice users to stay around the website? There are a few new features that I added in, not even knowing if it's possible.

Similar to what ABC and CBS have done in the States, the BBC can offer full episodes of their shows online with only minimal commercial interruptions. Who wouldn't want to watch their favorite episode of "Little Britian" whenever they wanted to? This is found in a module that the user can either use a view station or as a gateway to asubstite housing previous BBC shows.

Podcasting is another technological advancement that the BBC has embraced. Allowing users to access their new podcasts or listen to older episodes will allow the BBC a more personal interaction with the end user. A system would be built where find,subscribing and even creating their own podcasts is a possibility.

Anchored to the right side of the tab bar is a BBC Radio callout. This allows the user full access to the wide variety of BBC radio stations. The radio can be shown and hidden, allowing the user to decide it they want the module visible while listening. Within the module itself, with the click of a logo, theshow's title, host, guest and/or band and song name will show on the screen.

Other moduals could include Flickr, Google Maps or Popular web services that have an customizable API.

That's All Folks

This new buzzword laden "Web 2.0" phase of the internet is, at it's core, about the users and how they interact with content. By allowing as much personalization as possible to its homepage, the BBC will keep it's reputation as a leader in the tech world.

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